New police unit launched to address truck safety

A new police unit will be established in Victoria to address a rise in heavy vehicle accidents

By Ruza Zivkusic| February 15, 2011

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) is pleased with its first meeting with Victoria Police, saying the force now has a better understanding of the transport industry.

Twenty representatives from the transport industry met with Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe on Wednesday last week to discuss safety and heavy vehicle enforcement issues.

A recently-set up road unit of 25 officers will review the 50 truck accidents that killed 60 people in the past year.

"With a 50 percent increase in fatalities, the special unit will be reviewing every truck accident in the past 12 months and this will provide some useful information for the police targeting," Walshe says.

During the meeting, the VTA raised the contentious policy of bans on trucks using the right hand lanes on Melbourne freeways. The group and Victoria Police also discussed heavy vehicle speeding, a shortage of experienced drivers and tailgating.

Victoria Police provided examples of poor industry practices, including the lack of control by prime contractors over subcontractors.

VTA CEO Philip Lovel says Walshe welcomed to the industry’s feedback.

"He offered to work in partnership with the transport industry and acknowledged the good work being done by many companies," Lovel says.

"We did not know what to expect. This was our first ‘get to know you session’ and we went well prepared."

Prime movers and semi trailers were involved in 23 of last year’s crashes. Another 16 died from heavy rigid incidents, while 12 were killed in B-double accidents.

Further meetings will be held between Victoria Police and the trucking industry over the next six months.

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